Dana’s Story

Before starting SJI’s Office Occupations program in Fall 2003, Dana wanted to change her life for the positive. She was balancing working for herself as a house cleaner and working for another house cleaning service – all while raising a young child. Dana was making money, but not enough to have the kind of lifestyle she wanted for herself and her daughter. She needed a job where there was the opportunity for advancement and was interested in working in an office environment, and she realized she was at a point where she needed to acquire a strong foundation of office and computer skills. Through her case manager at her community-based organization, Dana found SJI.

Dana worked hard to build skills and overcome day-to-day challenges of being a mom in school. She had never worked in an office environment before, so she had to study hard – but she had the help of her instructors throughout the program. She also honed her performance skills, gaining greater levels of accountability and punctuality. During the second quarter of the program, Dana was matched with an internship at RGA Environmental, a consulting firm in Seattle and an SJI Employer Partner. She excelled in her internship position, and following the SJI program, RGA hired Dana for a full-time position.

Now, Dana’s been with RGA for over seven years, and has advanced in her career to the position of Administrative Assistant/Insurance Coordinator. The skills she learned through the SJI program continue to be a foundation and have provided a sense of self-esteem that allow Dana to really shine as an employee.

“I love the group of people that I work with. I love that I am always learning new things. I love being the first point of contact for RGA, and I have a great boss,” said Dana. She also continues to progress, building on her successes so far. “I am always learning new skills on the job, and soon, I’ll be going back to school – the benefit of employer-provided tuition assistance – to complete my AA degree!”